By Leslie Finnan
The juvenile athletes from Longford AC had phenomenal success at the recent 2 day Connacht Indoor Track & Field Championships at the International Arena at Athlone IT, bringing home provincial medals in 16 different events that all qualify for the upcoming prestigious GloHealth Athletics Ireland National Indoor Finals. The Club excelled in relays, with 5 teams U12-U16 all placing in the top 3 which gives 20 promising young runners from across the County the opportunity to gain valuable competition experience at national standard.
The recent achievements are triple the 2014 results when Longford AC won 5 Connacht medals and had three relay teams finish in 4th place. 43 Longford children took part this year reflecting the growth and popularity of athletics with training groups formed in Kenagh and Dromard as well as twice weekly in Longford town.
In the individual track events Edgeworthstown’s Yemi Talabi and Kenagh lads Corey Molloy, Cian Nolan and Aaron Kelly all impressed with their exceptional speed in Sprint collecting Connacht gold, silver and 2 bronze. Middle distance runners Sarah Murphy, Dromard, and Ardagh’s Cian McPhillips repeated their provincial success of 2014 qualifying once again in the 800m race where they will be serious contenders in the national race.
4 juveniles will go forward in mid-March to represent Longford AC in field events. Brendan Finnan was in great form winning 2nd in High Jump and 3rd place in Long Jump, achieving a new pb of 4.20m. Niall Moran, Strokestown, improved on last year’s Connacht result securing 2nd place and a new pb of 4.74m. Mark Brady’s Shot Putt instruction over the last few weeks really made an impact with Granard’s Tommy Corcoran, 6.89m Bronze, new Club member Sean McManus, 9.18m Silver, and Melissa O’Kane, 4.48m 6th place, all showing promise in this throwing event.
Coaches Paddy McPhillips, Caitriona Hayden, Leslie Finnan, Donal Mulligan and Adeline Galligan will put in renewed effort over the coming two weeks to fine tune the 5 relay teams in hopes of achieving an elusive set of National medals. It will be a very proud day when 22 Longford AC juvenile athletes line out on the track, relay batons in hand, for GloHealth Athletics Ireland National Indoor Finals on 21st March 2015.